writing Archive

Research Unleashed! And Leashed.

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 5 Comments
I knew I had a problem when I started envying my dog’s cone collar. Now, my dog’s problem was a hot spot. Allergic, itchy, hot, and double-coated, my German Shepherd had chewed her hind leg raw over the course of a single evening. My problem was research. Engrossing, surprising,

Walking to Write

Author: | Categories: Writing 2 Comments
It should be no surprise that walking relieves stress and anxiety and increases creativity, but now a recent study at Stanford University has found that walking, even for just ten minutes, increases creativity by sixty percent. (Apparently, there was no difference between walking outside and walking on a treadmill in

Literary Lines that Make a Mark

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Recently I enjoyed a wondrous weekend in Austin during which I added a third tattoo to my collection. It so happens this is my second literary tattoo. The first, inked roughly a year ago, was a celebration of a number of triumphs, among them my first paid publication and

Burnt Memories: Reading Gabriel García Márquez in Texas

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It took every fiber of me not to rattle off a quick ditty about Gabo the night after he passed.  I tried, of course, but then where do you stop? Fifteen thousand words? Twenty? In this digital age you’re late even if only by a day, which seemed appropriate

How to Charm the Pants Off an Editor with the Power of Your Words

Author: | Categories: Publishing, Publishing Advice No comments
I have to imagine that, within the Ploughshares community, there are just about as many writers as readers: those who love stringing words together, seeing how they taste when they read them back to themselves… Those who continue to look for the best words with which to hit readers in the

Unburied Memories: A Tiny Interview with Carlos Villacorta Gonzáles

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing 1 Comment
My newest literary kick is immersing myself in literature from Latin America that hasn’t been translated to English yet. Reading outside of the American canon, you learn new tricks and new ways of cutting familiar narratives—but if you’re lucky you learn a new kind of reading altogether.

Get Real! Or Maybe Don’t Get Real? A Conversation with Lincoln Michel (Part 1)

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Recently, on social media, Gigantic magazine editor Lincoln Michel questioned the label of “realism.” I write “realism,” and I’m branching into other genres, so I introduced myself and asked a few more questions. Our conversation, conducted over e-mail, spanned several days, topics, and (starting today) will also span two blog entries

Book Recommendations for All You Budding Freelance Writer Entrepreneur-Types

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This past winter has been a hellishly bleak and frigid ice-scape, filled with dark mornings, dark nights, burst steam pipes, and broken furnaces. And frankly, it’s been hard to get myself motivated to do the work people are paying me for, let alone the personal projects that will someday

The Ploughshares Round-Down: “Die Empty”

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If you’re on Twitter, you likely noticed that a new tool took over the twitterverse last week, allowing everyone to identify and re-post their very first tweets. My first? Ahem: I retweeted a friend’s observation that “The writers of the show He-man were frickin’ geniuses”. I mean, obvs my friend spoke truth. Still, by taking that

Writers With Responsibilities: Be Who You Are

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Dear Sally, Do you have the magic spell that can inspire me to write again? I have not written anything in so long. Whenever I write about parenting or families, I feel like “this has all been said before. Why write about it?” I also find that it’s been